Insurance sector calls for next generation
A group of Bermuda’s high-performing students took front row positions at the EY Global (Re)insurance Outlook event, and they were encouraged to consider careers in the insurance sector.
With the industry facing the expected retirement of almost 400,000 employees in the next few years, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, the need to attract the next generation has been given a high priority by executives.
It is a subject that has been raised by many of the sector’s leading executives, and it was one of the topics highlighted at the EY event, held in association with The Insurance Insider, at the Hamilton Princess on Friday.
David Brown, senior partner for EY Bermuda and regional insurance leader, told delegates: “As we look forward to the future, it is clear that the key to success will be focused on attracting the next generation of leaders with the skills to compete in the sharing economy and the ever-increasing digital age.
“On the point of attracting talent to our industry, we are very excited to have in attendee four high-performing students each from Berkeley Institute and CedarBridge Academy.
“Hopefully they will get some exposure to our industry and this will be their start as our next generation of leaders here in Bermuda.”
The need to bring in a new generation of “tech-savvy people” was also part of the message from Albert Benchimol, president and chief executive officer of Axis Capital, who was the keynote speaker.
He told the audience: “We need to change the culture in our industry to make it more collaborative, more open-minded to welcome the millennials that are coming into our industry.”
Addressing the eight students, he said: “You really are the future of our industry. And we need to have an industry that makes it exciting for you to come and work with the insurance industry as opposed to going to work for a Google or some other company.
“Because the truth is there are incredible opportunities in insurance to change society, to make life better for people. But to do that we need to bring in a new way of thinking. We need to bring a more vibrant approach to using data and technology, so they can take it to the next step.”
Mr Benchimol added: “The truth is, people like me, we’re dinosaurs. We need young people to come in and challenge us. And we are not going to do it the way we were managing insurance companies in the past.”
Jamahl Simmons, Minister of Economic Development, who was a guest speaker, said that while it was good to see the students involved, he believes the process of educating youngsters about the sector should start at an even younger age.
“Bermuda is a centre for this industry, but there are still children that if you ask them or their parents what an actuary is, they don’t know. They don’t even personally know someone who is one,” he said.
“Your scope as an individual is often limited by what you are exposed to. The more we expose our young people to the full breadth of opportunities existing and the future, we will begin to get more people and we will become a better centre for producing the high quality intellectual capital.”
Mr Simmons encouraged the island’s students to study hard and not be afraid to go overseas for a number of years to gain international experience before returning to the island.
He said: “Come back with the talent and experience that you can then use to move to a higher level.”
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